Amnesty International and same-sex marriage

benjamin

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It's worth pointing out that, while most of what Amnesty traditionally stood for, freedom of conscience and the right to oppose the Government peacefully, was uncontroversial, Amnesty's new stances, on abortion and on same-sex marriage are extremely controversial.

For example, if you were to ask people worldwide whether Aung San Suu Kyi ought to have her freedom restored, the vast majority would say yes. These stances cost Amnesty nothing, and they are true to its founding principles.

If you were, on the other hand, to ask people world wide whether there was a right to abortion, or a right for people of the same-sex to get married, you would find a much higher proportion of people would oppose those propositions.

Amnesty's increased radicalism on these controversial social issues is hurting their core mission, the protection of the freedom of conscience.


Amnesty Internationals core mission is not freedom of conscience. Where in hell did you get that from?

Amnesty International’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
From Amnesty's global site:
Working with and for individuals the world over, we campaign so that every person may enjoy all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We undertake research and take action aimed at preventing and ending grave abuses of these rights, demanding that all governments and other powerful entities respect the rule of law. It means we campaign globally and locally where ever we can make a difference.
Amnesty works to promote, defent and protect ALL human rights. Its work on sexual orientation issues is core to its human rights work on non-descrimination, an over arching human rights principle.

You are way off the mark matey.
 


benjamin

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Bollox. I've been told myself that Irish Amnesty members can't deal with the North. It's done by London. So who's lying, you or head office in Dublin?



Who gives a sh!t? The place, you may or may not have noticed, is occupied by a foreign power, military on the streets, courts without juries, houses raided without warrants, bigot marches forced through people's streets, there's no end of human rights abuses to choose from.
What does Amnesty tackle? Let's tell the teachers about human rights in far off places.
Well done.
Resignation letter now signed, and direct debit cancelled come Monday.
So you support human rights for as long as they are the ones you agree with or only affect your areas of particular interest.

Sounds like Amnesty will be better off without you.
 

kevinsmith

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Amnesty was always a pain in the butt on the North. I remember a guy telling me about an Amnesty lecture in the 80s in TCD, where they were all upset about a "section 31" or maybe it was "clause 31" in Jordan, at the time. Someone asked about our own Section 31, which of course was imposed on us by a sticky-blueshirt coalition in the 70s. Yer man from Amnesty said they "didn't want to embarrass the British government" and refused to discuss it. Tossers.
 

L'Chaim

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Amnesty International has become a left wing political pressure group. They stopped being a Human Rights group a long time ago. However was Colm O'Gorman speaking on behalf of Amnesty or was he speaking as a gay rights campaigner? If he wasn't wearing his 'Amnesty hat' then why bring AI into this debate. maybe AI have nothing to do with this at all. I'm all for gay marriage if that's what they want, but others are against it and not all their reasons have to do with bigotry. They're entitled to their opinions without being labelled bigots. Though having said that, there would be some bigots against gay marriage, but not all of the people against it are bigots.
 

JCSkinner

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So you support human rights for as long as they are the ones you agree with or only affect your areas of particular interest.

Sounds like Amnesty will be better off without you.
I support human rights.
Like most people, some places interest me more than others. Could you say otherwise?
I am of the firm opinion that marriage is not a human right at all, and concur with other disillusioned members who are concerned that O'Gorman's tenure in charge has led to this agenda being foisted upon people who would rather the organisation focused on its core mission.
 

benjamin

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I support human rights.
Like most people, some places interest me more than others. Could you say otherwise?
I am of the firm opinion that marriage is not a human right at all, and concur with other disillusioned members who are concerned that O'Gorman's tenure in charge has led to this agenda being foisted upon people who would rather the organisation focused on its core mission.
Are you just chosing to ignore the post above which set out Amnesty International global policy on same sex marriage? As for your view that marriage is not a human right at all, wtf????

It is paid out in the UDHR and in other major international legal instruments.

It has NOT been interpreted to inclde a right to same sex marriage however. Amnesty Internationals position is based instead on non-discrimination provisions.

It is Amnesty members who required Colm O'Gorman to speak out on this issue. Frankly, I can't imagine this is especially comfortable for him given it is also a personal issue for him.

Amnesty members set the organisations agenda, not any individual CEO of a national section.

That may not suit your personal agenda, but there it is.
 
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Hewson

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Your post is either extraordinarily uninformed or entirely disingenous.

O'Gorman does not set Amnesty International policy, as you would surely know if you were involved in any significant way. Policy is set through a global democratic process and in Ireland by Amnesty members here.
If Amnesty has shifted its targets then so be it. All I want to know is what it stands for. Human rights is about (for me)

a) The right to life (ie. the right not have one's life taken against one's will)
b) Freedom of conscience. ie. the right to express one's opinioms without fear of punishment
c) Freedom of expression. ie. the right to express personal and political opinions without fear of repression.

Where O'Gorman is jumping off the rails is in confusing personal freedom with imposing one's idea of personal freedom on others. Homosexual marriage is not, per se, a right. It's an aspiration to be pursued by, as yet, a minority in society. Until such time as the majority decide that homosexual marriage is an acceptable norm within society it will remain an aspiration.

My argument with O'Gorman is that he is trying to confuse his personal prejudices and aspirations with the noble aims of the original founders of Amnesty. This is wholly unacceptable and an abuse of his position in its structure. Whatever the aims of the organisation in Ireland in relation to homosexual marriage, to pursue such aims under the umbrella of an organisation devoted to the elimination of human rights ABUSES worldwide is an abdication of its core principles.
 
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JCSkinner

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I don't have a personal agenda. My agenda in joining Amnesty was to help in reducing the human rights abuses in places like Palestine, Zimbabwe, China and Northern Ireland.
Instead, ever since O'Gorman took the helm, there's been bugger all about human rights abuses and just more of his own personal agenda.
No one ever asked me if Amnesty should adopt a policy in favour of gay marriage or waste their time replicating the shrill demands of the gay lobby rather than focus on actual human rights abuses taking place on this island and elsewhere.
 

myk

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No one ever asked me if Amnesty should adopt a policy in favour of gay marriage or waste their time replicating the shrill demands of the gay lobby rather than focus on actual human rights abuses taking place on this island and elsewhere.

I take it then you never went to any Amnesty conferences in all your years as a member? Amnesty is a democratic organisation. Policy decisions like this are taken by the members through voting.
 

benjamin

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If Amnesty has shifted its targets then so be it. All I want to know is what it stands for. Human rights is about (for me)

a) The right to life (ie. the right not have one's life taken against one's will)
b) Freedom of consience. ie. the right to express one's opinioms without fear of punishment
c) Freedom of expression. ie. the right to express personal and political opinions without fear of repression.

Where O'Gorman is jumping off the rails is in confusing personal freedom with imposing one's idea of personal freedom on others. Homosexual marriage is not, per se, a right. It's an aspiration to be pursued by, as yet, a minority in society. Until such time as the majority decide that homosexual marriage is an acceptable norm within society it will remain an aspiration.

My argument with O'Gorman is that he is trying to confuse his personal prejudices and aspirations with the noble aims of the original founders of Amnesty. This is wholly unacceptable and an abuse of his position in its structure. Whatever the aims of the organisation in Ireland in relation to homosexual marriage, to pursue such aims under the umbrella of an organisation devoted to the elimination of human rights ABUSES worldwide is an abdication of its core principles.
Seriously, how long are you going to continue to ignore the fact that Amnesty International globally sets policy on this not O'Gorman. I am a long standing member and have quoted the global policy earlier in this thread. Here it is again:

End discrimination in civil marriage laws on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and recognise families of choice, across borders where necessary;
It is from the global policy paper Love, Hate and the Law: Decriminalizing Homosexuality - POL 30/003/2008.

Amnesty Ireland members required the Irish section, and O'Gorman as CEO and spokesperson, to activate that policy in Ireland when they passed a motion on it at the organisations AGM in 2008.

That may not suit the way you wish to interpret or spin this, but they are the facts.
 

JCSkinner

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Normal process is to submit an agenda for meetings to the members in advance so that they know what they're voting on.
I never saw gay marriage mentioned on anything I was sent, otherwise I'd have dropped down and made the case for focusing on human rights instead.
 

Hewson

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I take it then you never went to any Amnesty conferences in all your years as a member? Amnesty is a democratic organisation. Policy decisions like this are taken by the members through voting.
I'm not answering for somebody else, but if the members have voted for the current line of policy, as followed by Colm O'Gorman, then I, too, will have to withdraw my support for it as of now.

A great pity.
 

benjamin

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I don't have a personal agenda. My agenda in joining Amnesty was to help in reducing the human rights abuses in places like Palestine, Zimbabwe, China and Northern Ireland.
Instead, ever since O'Gorman took the helm, there's been bugger all about human rights abuses and just more of his own personal agenda.
No one ever asked me if Amnesty should adopt a policy in favour of gay marriage or waste their time replicating the shrill demands of the gay lobby rather than focus on actual human rights abuses taking place on this island and elsewhere.
Seriously, you are becoming laughable now. I am beginning to doubt you have ever in fact been a memebr or if you have yoyu certainly have never made any efforts to follow the organisations work.

Amnesty International Ireland's priority countries (countries of focus) are Zimbabwe, Israel and the occopuied Palestine Territorities and Mexico. The organisation campaigned extensively on human rights in China throughout 2008. More here.

To see just how broadly the organisation works and how O'Gorman represents that work try listening to his radio columns for RTE Drivetime on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Link here.

He covers all the issues you addressed and many, many more. Inform yourself a little why don't you.
 

benjamin

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I'm not answering for somebody else, but if the members have voted for the current line of policy, as followed by Colm O'Gorman, then I, too, will have to withdraw my support for it as of now.

A great pity.
Of if you don't agree and are a member you might instead stay and argue your case. Thats how democracy works.
 

JCSkinner

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Seriously, you are becoming laughable now. I am beginning to doubt you have ever in fact been a memebr or if you have yoyu certainly have never made any efforts to follow the organisations work.
I've all the mail I've ever been sent right in front of me in a box, as I'm moving house. Do you care to tell me when I would have received the letter telling me that Amnesty wanted to become a gay marriage lobbyist instead of focusing on human rights?
That might help me find it, because so far I'm still drawing a blank.

Amnesty International Ireland's priority countries (countries of focus) are Zimbabwe, Israel and the occopuied Palestine Territorities and Mexico.
Which is why I joined. Sadly, it seems that the concept of priority has escaped the current Irish organisation.

The organisation campaigned extensively on human rights in China throughout 2008. More here.

To see just how broadly the organisation works and how O'Gorman represents that work try listening to his radio columns for RTE Drivetime on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Link here.

He covers all the issues you addressed and many, many more. Inform yourself a little why don't you.
It is indeed interesting to see O'Gorman pursuing a lucrative media career on the back of his Amnesty sinecure. That's just another reason to leave really. I didn't sign up to aggrandise his career either.
I signed up to support human rights, not whatever gay cause Colm personally espouses. Give us a shout when Amnesty decides to focus on that again and perhaps I'll consider rejoining.
 

Hewson

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benjamin;1925982To see just how broadly the organisation works and how O'Gorman represents that work try listening to his radio columns for RTE Drivetime on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [URL="http://www.amnesty.ie/amnesty/live/irish/action/article.asp?id=23195&page=15310" said:
Link here[/URL].

He covers all the issues you addressed and many, many more. Inform yourself a little why don't you.
I've followed O'Gorman's Drivetime broadcasts and have been extremely impressed with both his sincerity and obvious commitment to what he does.

But your dismissive attitude to JCSkinner's, let's say 'reservations', about O'Gorman's directions as the head of AI in Ireland is disturbing, to say the least, if you're a committed AI supporter. His views are widely held, though you may not like to think so.

You yourself have some homework to do. AI stands to lose support and, more importantly, credibility, if it pursues the socially divisive path it's currently on.
 
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ajax1000

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O Gorman has his own agenda which is the advancement of Colm O Gorman. He plays a great game with the media.

Best of luck to him. I think organisations like AI are a waste of time myself. They achieve very little and are just talking shops for middleaged intellectuals.
 

Factorem

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Is having dread locks a prerequisite of employment at Amnesty International?
 

Verhofstadt

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I've all the mail I've ever been sent right in front of me in a box, as I'm moving house. Do you care to tell me when I would have received the letter telling me that Amnesty wanted to become a gay marriage lobbyist instead of focusing on human rights?
That might help me find it, because so far I'm still drawing a blank.



Which is why I joined. Sadly, it seems that the concept of priority has escaped the current Irish organisation.



It is indeed interesting to see O'Gorman pursuing a lucrative media career on the back of his Amnesty sinecure. That's just another reason to leave really. I didn't sign up to aggrandise his career either.
I signed up to support human rights, not whatever gay cause Colm personally espouses. Give us a shout when Amnesty decides to focus on that again and perhaps I'll consider rejoining.

My previous post was a little trite and I recognise your concern. I would urge to remain a member and influence from within as opposed to simply walking away. As a member of Amnesty you can influence the agenda of an organisation that, while flawed, has been done and can continue to do a lot of good.
 


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